Backcountry Checklist

Backcountry Equipment

Be Prepared When Entering the Backcountry When snowmobiling, your chances of finding someone in trouble or having trouble yourself is an ever-present danger.


Survival often depends on three things; your state of mind, the equipment in your survival pack, and your knowledge of how to use that equipment.


Build your own survival kit to insure that you are carrying quality equipment that will be the most helpful to your specific outdoor activity. Store bought kits can be full of equipment that offer little help.


The following is a list of necessary equipment that you should carry with you on every outing to increase your chances of survival should something unexpected happen. Never go snowmobiling without your survival gear.


  • Waterproof matches
  • 2 or 3 Butane Lighters (Clear with an adjustable flame)
  • Candle
  • 50 ft Nylon parachute cord (for building a shelter)
  • 60 X 90 inch sheet of 2 mil. plastic
  • Sharp knife
  • 2 or 3 Silver & gold space blankets
  • Plastic whistle (ACME dog training whistle)
  • Small folding wood saw
  • Survival paper (KLEENEX or toilet paper)
  • Small flashlight with spare batteries
  • Candy bars and hard candy
  • Dry gloves (snowmobile & wool)
  • Water
  • Aspirin
  • Basic First-Aid kit
  • Food: high energy and carbohydrates In addition to the above items you might consider adding these items to your equipment.
  • Avalanche shovel
  • Signal mirror
  • Blaze orange cloth
  • 2 35 mm Film cans of Calcium Carbide (Sealed with electrical tape)
  • #0000 Steel wool pads & 9 VOLT battery
  • Magnesium fire stick
  • Dry socks
  • Newspaper
  • Orange flagging tape
  • Small snowshoes
  • Cyalume light sticks
  • Flashing strobe light
  • Cell Phone
  • Small can of lighter fluid
  • Thermos of hot beverage

Avalanche beacons if you ride in avalanche country


SUGGESTED SNOWMOBILE CLOTHING Good quality winter clothing is critical to your enjoyment and safety when snowmobiling. Ski type clothing is usually not warm enough due to the wind chill factor when riding. Bibs made specifically for snowmobiling are a must. Waterproof all clothing, and layer clothing so that each additional layer is slightly larger in size to keep your clothing from becoming too tight and restrictive. Waterproof gloves and boots also. Avoid wearing any clothing made of cotton. It will quickly become wet and cold and dries very slowly. The phrase, “cotton kills” is well known within the search & rescue community. Polar fleece is an excellent replacement for cotton as long as it is not used as an outer layer. It can also quickly become wet, but it will dry quickly. Remember to add a layer of clothing before you become chilled and take off a layer before you become damp from perspiration.

  • Therymal type underwear
  • Turtleneck
  • Sweater (wool or Polar Fleece)
  • Well-insulated coat with large pockets
  • Wool socks (or Merino wool)
  • Snowmobile bibs (waterproof)
  • Snowmobile boots (rated at -40 or below, -100 for women)
  • Well-insulated gloves or mittens with waterproof shell
  • Glove liners
  • Neck Gaiter
  • Balaclava or Proclava
  • Snowmobile helmet with visor or snow goggles
  • Sunglasses (dark for sunny days, and yellow for low light days)
  • Extra gloves
  • Knit cap